Thursday, 7 October 2010

Political Dissidents and Psychiatric Examinations

It is extremely easy to become a political dissident. It requires no desire to be so and no decision to become it. One can quite simply do one's job and find that one has become a political dissident. It can happen to people who regard themselves as apolitical.

Contrary to the view of many people in the West who imagine, for example, that all Russian dissidents were opposing Communism, some were very committed to it in a way that others thought was rather naive. Major-General Pyotr Grigorenko, a much decorated Red Army commander (photo on left) did annoy the authorities when he objected to lavish lifestyle and jobs for life in case of senior communist party officials. He was diagnosed as: "psychological illness in the form of paranoid development of personality....His psychological condition was characterised by the presence of reformist ideas, particularly for the reorganisation of the state apparatus." He was hospitalised for one year and on release his mind not cleared from reformist delusions he got into human rights protests. He was warned by KGB General Svetlichny: "If you go out into the street, even without disturbing the traffic, with banners reading "Long Live the Central Committee!", we shall still put you in lunatic asylums."

As General Grigorenko continued his activities he was tricked to a meeting, put into a cell and subjected to three hour psychiatric examination which was normal according to Professor Detengof. KGB men unhappy with this absence of psychiatric diagnosis decided that they can only rely on Serbsky Institute in Moscow, where Dr Morozov and Professor Lunts subsequently obliged by making diagnosis of paranoid personality development and confined him for five years of compulsory inpatient treatment.

Not all psychiatrists worked in Paranoia Factory as Frances Wheen calls it in his excellent book "Strange Days Indeed, The Golden Age of Paranoia". There was some resistance with gross sarcasm as in the case of a Latvian farmer who was hospitalised because he said that Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia was bad for communist image. His psychiatrist wrote:

"He states that never under any circumstances will he abandon the idea of fighting for a communist system and socialism. On the basis of the above, the commission finds that Yakhimovich displays paranoid development of psychopathic personality".

Very much the same themes have been occurring in British psychiatry for at least the last twelve years, in the attempts of the medical regulators to control political dissent amongst medical doctors. Doctors' crimes are a bit like that of General Grigorenko in that they just want things to be better for their patients. Sometimes, they want things to be better for junior doctors' training too.

The regulators are fond of forensic psychiatrists who tend to be authoritarian and thus more suitable for use in intimidation of eg whistleblowers.

When psychiatric examinations are used for political dissidents the purpose is the same as in Stalinist Russia: to install fear, undermine confidence and ultimately discredit and bring under control while preserving the power base of the less competent. It is really simple.

Even if one finds support from independent psychiatrists, the medical regulator is not happy just like KGB was not happy in the case of Grigorenko. Long term psychiatric monitoring for years is used in the form of sanctions on professional practice. So doctor may not be hospitalised, but is unemployed, staying at home and under obligation to be supervised by psychiatrists despite never having any mental illness whatsoever. If they write blogs, these are monitored, articles read, downloaded and filed, like this one will be.
Humiliating requests are made for the doctor to write his/her own Personal Development Programme with respect to Anger Management, Team working and Improvements in Communication Skills. One is essentially asked to conform to poor practices one protested about in order not to demand any social change. In my case, I objected to the wearing of religious uniforms when working with mentally ill.
Thus, absence of psychiatric symptomatology is made up for by the regulator into pseudo psychological personality/relationship problems that do not exist.

Doctors' perfectly normal language expression is said to be showing the evidence of psychotic thought disorder. In my case, Professor of Psychiatry recently honoured by the Royal College of Psychiatrists in London stated that starting a sentence with a word "but" was evidence of a psychotic thought disorder. According to this criteria, all the best (and not the best) English writers from William Shakespeare to others are psychotic. My favourite example is from Mark Twain who started at least five sentences on two pages in one of his books with a word "but".

Sadistic behaviour by some psychiatrists is allowed to continue for many years despite the complaints by professionals and the person doing it is even honoured by the establishment.

Laughable diagnosis are resurected from the ashes on the floor of Paranoia Factory in England such as Querolous Paranoia for the dissdent doctors. Disagreeing with hospital managment eg on the issue of junior doctors' training can lead to it. In fact, anything.

So what is new? Well, Internet is new. Russian dissidents had to publish themselves their work in print and then had to distribute it. Later on Grigorenko founded organisation for the study of the totalitarian regimes which is in New York where he was exiled. I do not know if there is such a thing in England.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Is it possible to share your articles on Facebook?